Devon

Stephen Crook murder accused 'celebrated in hotel'

Murder scene in Alphington Road, Exeter
Image caption Stephen Crook was found stabbed at his home in Alphington Road

Five men stabbed a drug dealer to death and later celebrated in a hotel with drink and drugs, a court heard.

The group attacked Stephen Crook at his home in Exeter, Devon, for cash and drugs, Exeter Crown Court was told.

They were all seen on CCTV in a Sainsbury's store just minutes before the alleged attack buying four knives, prosecutors said.

Five men, one from Okehampton in Devon and the rest from Coventry, deny murder and robbery.

Covered in blood

They are Steven Webster, 40, of East Street, Okehampton; Ryan Singleton, 26, of Howcotte Green, Canley, Coventry; Darren Twigger, 40, of John Rous Avenue, Canley; a teenager from Prior Deram Walk, Canley and Anthony Martin, 22, of Gerard Avenue, Canley.

The men went to Mr Crook's house in Alphington Road, Exeter, in November 2013, the court heard.

They targeted him because they believed he had £20,000 in money or drugs, the jury was told.

The victim was attacked while his girlfriend was out buying a Chinese takeaway and she returned to find him fatally injured and covered in blood.

The men drove to the Exeter Arms Hotel at Middlemoor to celebrate with cash they had taken from Mr Crook's home, said Michael Fitton, QC, prosecuting.

Mr Webster had at one time been a neighbour of Mr Crook and knew he was a drug dealer,

"He knew him personally and what the flat was like inside," said Mr Fitton. "He led this group to the victim.

"What they stole was spent within a matter of hours by the defendants celebrating by consuming drugs and alcohol in a hotel in Exeter."

The men deny the charges. The trial continues.

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